World cassava output in 2013 is expected to reach 256 million tonnes, a marginal increase from the level of 2012, but still the fifteenth annual rise in succession. The expansion is being fueled by rising demand for food in the African continent and increasing industrial applications of cassava in East and Southeast Asia, especially for ethanol and starch. World trade in cassava products, much sustained by industrial demand, is set to match the high volume of 2012. This is the result, by and large, of the price competitiveness that cassava has gained over competing products and also market stabilization policies in Thailand, the world’s leading international supplier of cassava products. International prices of chips have been remarkably stable in spite of strong demand, while cassava starch prices have begun to slide in the wake of more competitive maize quotations.
The outlook for 2014 points to a continued expansion of production in Africa, where cassava remains a strategic crop for both food security and poverty alleviation. However, the increasingly rapid spread of cassava brown streak disease casts some doubt on how robust future growth can be in the region. In Asia, prospects for further expansion of the sector are
far from certain, as much depends on how cassava fares with substitutes. In recent months, international quotations of maize have fallen precipitously, which has already begun to dampen demand for cassava. The outlook will also be heavily influenced by the degree of
support that Thailand will accord to its domestic sector, either the reinstitution of the “price pledging scheme” or continued sales at a discount from official stockpiles.
Source: Abdolreza Abbassian
Trade and Markets Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome - Italy
E-mail: Abdolreza.Abbassian@fao.org or email@example.com